City of White Rock utilities manager Dr. Saad Jasim during construction of the city’s new water treatment plant on Goggs Avenue. (File photo)

‘Slight’ arsenic increase noted in White Rock water: city

Challenges in plant commissioning cited, testing underway

The level of arsenic in White Rock’s drinking water has climbed from “nearly undetectable” to “about 40 per cent of the maximum level allowed by Health Canada,” officials say.

But the municipality’s water remains within the range for safe and healthy water, according to a city news release announcing the increase.

“White Rock’s water plant design objectives are stringent, and the city is taking action to reduce the level,” the release, issued Friday, states.

The city’s water quality “continues to be very high… exceeding the standards set for water quality by Health Canada,” White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker adds.

According to the release, the “slightly elevated” presence is “thought to be related to challenges experienced during plant commissioning” – which occurred in April – and tests are underway to return the levels to previously set objectives of less than 0.002 mg per litre for 95 per cent of operation and less than 0.005 mg for five per cent of operation.

The maximum allowed concentration (MAC) is 0.01 mg per litre.

Asked to elaborate on the cited challenges, the city’s communications manager pointed to a September 2019 ‘Update on the Water Treatment Plant to the Water Community Advisory Panel.’

The update lists two issues that needed to be resolved: a software issue that was affecting the recording of data; and, that the filtration of arsenic was not within the range promised in the contract between the city and the manufacturer.

“Staff is working with the manufacturer to address this issue,” the update notes.

Friday’s release notes that the level of manganese in the city’s water – Canadian guidelines issued in May establish a MAC of 0.12 mg per litre – “has continued to be nearly undetectable.”

The city acquired the utility from Epcor in 2015. After partnering with UBC-based research and development team RES’EAU-WaterNET in 2016, White Rock developed an approach to water treatment that includes use of GreensandPlus, a black filter media that removes soluble iron, manganese, hydrogen sulfide and radium from groundwater, plus Bayoxide 33, an absorptive media for arsenic.

In June, city utilities manager Dr. Saad Jasim told council that White Rock water was more than measuring up to current health standards.

READ MORE: White Rock water testing well within Health Canada guidelines

The plant generates its own ozone for use in oxidizing the toxic form of arsenic into non-toxic arsenate, which can then be absorbed and disposed of safely with the filtering media, Saad noted.

He also noted that study has shown presence of arsenic and manganese in the White Rock system fluctuates during the year, with more leaching taking place during the winter months.

Friday’s news release notes White Rock’s water has elevated levels of naturally occurring arsenic and manganese. Results of testing triggered by the increase in arsenic will be available later this fall, it adds. The city posts test results at whiterockcity.ca/mywater

 

Dr. Saad Jasim, manager of utilities for the City of White Rock, with then-mayor Wayne Baldwin at last spring’s announcement of $11.8 million in federal and provincial funding for arsenic and manganese treatment facilities for city water. (File photo)

Just Posted

Northern California man charged with aiding fugitive Brandon Teixeira

Sam Koh, 40, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to harbouring Teixeira

Prolific offender nabbed at Surrey SkyTrain after police say he skipped paying fare

Officers arrested Reginald Simon at Scott Road SkyTrain after discovering he had 11 outstanding warrants

South Surrey couple donates $1M to hospital’s children’s centre campaign

Donation brings hospital foundation’s fundraising goal within $1 million

The Surrey Hospice Society’s Toolbox thrift store reopens in Cloverdale

Before she fell ill, Janet Child revamped second-hand tool store

Death threat related to unsolved Surrey murder posted at major city intersection

Bradley Kline, 26, of Newton was murdered on Dec. 7, 2018

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

Snowfall warning issued for Coquihalla Highway

Up to 25 cm of snow is expected to fall in the region by Thursday

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by pellet gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

B.C. guide fined $2K in first conviction under new federal whale protection laws

Scott Babcock found guilty of approaching a North Pacific humpback whale at less than 100 metres

Feds urge Air Canada to fix booking problems as travel season approaches

The airline introduced the new reservation system more than three weeks ago

Most Read